A year on and I’m finally sharing my trip to Kiruna in Swedish Lapland, our Husky Sledding Adventure!
Around this time last year my gorgeous sister and I travelled to Sweden for a rather unconventional hen weekend. Well, the truth behind the ‘hen’ is a little stretched but the back story goes as follows; before my sister said ‘I do’ in sunny Crete, she had always dreamt of getting married in the snow and having a pack of huskies whisk her and her man away from the aisle after the nuptials whilst we (as her guests) would stand and cheer as she rode of into narnia….or a tale similar to that!
So as her maid of honor, I decided rather than opting for the classic Ibiza or Vegas for her hen, I chose to surprise her with a trip to Swedish Lapland to live out her childhood dream 🙂 I had her book off specific dates from work but kept it schtum for the few months between booking and travelling and it was only at the airport that she discovered we were off to Swedish Lapland!
The trip was planned to a tee, (if I do say so myself) we flew directly into Stockholm, stayed there for a night enjoying the spa and city and then the next morning flew further North to Kiruna, our home for the snowy adventure. The plan for the trip was most importantly to live out the mushing fantasy but whilst in Lapland we also managed to slot in a few other magical winter activities.
After settling into our hotel we headed straight back out to a place where dreams are made of! Well, a place where dreams are carved into ice at least, The Ice Hotel. When looking into booking the husky tour the only criteria I had searched for was that we were able to stay overnight in a cabin to ensure two days of sledding and I also researched heavily into camps with amazing welfare for the dogs. So I found the company online and then booked everything around that particular tour. It was only after booking the sled excursion that I realized the Ice Hotel was just half an hour from our first hotel, (and the award for accidental best sister goes to………) Camp Ripan.
The ice hotel is like nothing you’ve ever seen before, it’s beautifully bizarre and utterly incredible at the same time. A functional hotel made entirely from ice that only opens for a few months every year. Read more about the Ice Hotel here. We spent a fun afternoon there exploring, then headed back to Camp Ripan for a spa evening 🙂
After one night spent at Camp Ripan with our eyes peeled to the window in hope for a glimpse of the Northern lights (which I was sure we saw a flutter of but my sister was not so convinced!) we jumped in a car 20 minutes out to the sledding company and were immediately met by our guide and the sound of 20 overly excited dogs ready to thrash through the snow!
After getting to know our team of dogs and listening attentively to the stop processes and maneuverer tactics to ensure the safety for both us and the dogs we set off into the great white-washed countryside of Kiruna. The dogs were leaping for joy and catching each other’s ears playfully as they were running, it was so amazing to see how excited they were to be back out on the open road and whilst concentrating hard on my stability on the sled glancing at the views of the open plains quite litearlly took my breath away, it was my first ever snowy escape and it was like noting I had ever seen before, all the while I was sharing the experience with my enthusiastic pack and my bestie for life!
The mushing experience itself could be quite daunting, I’m personally very comfortable with both dogs (probably too comfortable as I was hugging and kissing them every time they were stationary!) and speed so I was quite happy with the unfamiliar experience but it was a lot to take on knowing that you could put the dogs and yourself in danger if you don’t pay attention, our gudie was great though, she was also super strict with us which I actually really appreciated. On our first day we weren’t able to take any pictures or take our hands off tbe sled at any point when riding but on the second I cleverly strapped on my gopro onto my jcket so managed to catch us in action!
If you haven’t already seen the video here she is!
Our camp in Kiruna was beautifully isolated and completely out of touch from ‘the outside world’, once we arrived I broke the news to my sister that due to the dreamy seclusion of the camp it did mean there was no running water or electricity on site, I’d love to say she took it like a champ but it was an adjustment of sorts for us both!
Our cabin was stripped back with just bunk beds a table and a heater, which upon entry we bundled around immediately, have I mentioned at this point how cold it becomes at night in Lapland? I guess the snow on the ground of these pictures has already ticked that off of my list of things to mention but yes, it was minus one million degrees!
The toilet was a short walk from our room (which we would walk to with a burning candle once dark) and it was a simple wooden seat on top of a hole in the ground. Enough said. There was then a larger communal room which is where we prepared and ate our dinner for the evening and our water was collected from nature itself, from, in fact, the very lake we had sled in on!
To get to the fresh water beneath the lake we walked back across it and once our guide picked away at the surface we plunged a plastic container into the lake to collect our evening’s hydration. It was quite the task but a fun and rewarding experience and the water tasted delicious, as biased as I may be 😉
Before our own dinner we fed our hard-working puppies with axe chopped meat and gravy and it was amazing to see them all enjoying a well deserved meal and settling in for the night, each dog had a kennel but most chose to sleep outside. It’s such a bizarre thing to get your head around, especially as an animal lover, that these pups sleep comfortably on the snow but they all seemed more happy rolling in the white stuff than they did indoors! Evolution’s is a crazy thing isn’t it?!
My sister and I wandered back down to the lake to catch the sunset as the clear day led us to believe it would be a nice one and the tell tale signs were right, it was beautiful! After a few minutes spent reminiscing on how amazing our day was and how we couldn’t quite believe where we were the obligatory snow fun commenced! Making snow angels, painting pictures with our footprints and the good old fashioned snowball fight all took place before the lake feel into darkness!
I stayed up all night in the hope to see the Northern Lights but alas they weren’t ready to reveal themselves! It wouldn’t be my first failed attempt to see them and I’m still yet to have success but living the the daytime i wouldn’t have traded the skies for the world!
The next morning we headed back out for a full day of mushing, this time a little more comfortable behind the reigns!
Watching the dogs thrash through the show in such amazingly captivating scenery created a feeling inside me that I hope never to forget! The experience of working as a team with the dogs and gliding effortlessly through frosted trees and blankets of snow was just incredible.
My sister loved every moment and though she may not have married that way, as she has originally planned, boy was I pleased it was her dream as making it come true for her, opened up a whole new fantasy fulfilled for me!
OMG I love that you did something totally different for your sister.